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Communications Posts

Building Buy-In for an Online Community at Your Association

Written by Elizabeth Bell on May 29, 2020 at 12:09 PM | 11 minute read

You don't have to be a hypnotist or a master of persuasion to build support for an online community among your association’s board and executive team.

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Topics: Communications, Engagement, Volunteer Management, Member Communities, Associations, Member Retention, Member Experience, Member Engagement, Collaboration Tools, Email Marketing, Online Community, Events

Want to Maximize Association Membership Value? Create Indispensable Engagement

Written by Elizabeth Bell on May 13, 2020 at 9:25 AM | 3 minute read

Although “engaging people” might not seem like the most groundbreaking approach to organizational growth, it’s a simple idea that has wide-reaching effects.

What is engagement, at its core? The more connected we are to something, the more we love it. We develop memories surrounding the people, the experiences, and the things we learn. We’re most attached to the groups or organizations that we’re most involved in.

This engagement produces things like higher retention, increased member satisfaction, and a larger membership.

And the inverse is true. You might be experiencing the effects of a lack of engagement at your association now, without realizing the source of the problem. What are those effects?

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Topics: Communications, Member Communities, Associations, Member Retention, Member Experience, Member Engagement, Marketing Automation, Online Community

7 Tips for Engaging Your Audience with a Virtual Event Community

Written by Kaila Timmons on May 1, 2020 at 8:12 AM | 5 minute read

During the plethora of free webinars and events happening right now, how can you help your virtual event stand out from the crowd?

We’ve heard a lot about how difficult it is to keep people engaged when they’re participating at their desks. It’s probably even harder when they’re working from home, due to all the distractions.

To counter this, try adding an unexpected element: community engagement.

An event community can help you create that sense of connection and engagement that you miss by not being in person.

But it’s not just “feel-good” results. Engagement helps you accomplish your larger goals for the virtual event.

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Topics: Communications, Engagement, Customer Communities, Member Communities, B2B Communities, User Group Communities, Customer Engagement, Member Engagement, Collaboration Tools, Marketing Automation, Online Community, Events

Webinar Recap: Attracting Young Professionals to Your Association

Written by Gabrielle Wathen on March 27, 2020 at 11:52 AM | 5 minute read

To attract young professionals to your association, you have to understand what matters to them in their early career stages and what really drives them to succeed. Wondering how to get in the mindset of a young professional in today’s world? 

This week, Higher Logic teamed up with Community Brands to host a webinar on just that – strategizing for the next generation. 

Discussion hosts Vivian Swertinski, Higher Logic Sr. Strategist, and Tara Pawlak, Community Brands Director of Marketing, shared top strategies that associations are using to grow their young professional membership, including: 

  • Young member priorities, like job opportunities and professional development
  • Building a network of peers and mentors within your industry
  • Personalizing your communications during recruitment and retention 

Fun fact: Job opportunities are one of the most sought-after benefits associations can offer. As Tara noted in the webinar:

“In times of economic uncertainty, association job boards see an increase in job seeker traffic, as professionals turn to them as a resource to help fortify against risk or find new job opportunities.”

Let’s go over some actionable insights from our experts, based on industry data, that can help you reach professionals earlier in their careers.

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Topics: Communications, Millennials, Member Communities, Associations, Member Retention, Member Experience, Member Engagement, Online Community

MTI's Story: Harnessing Community to Digitally Transform

Written by Gabrielle Wathen on February 24, 2020 at 8:30 AM | 7 minute read

The Metal Treating Institute (MTI) is a nonprofit trade association built to support its members, companies in the heat treating business. It has 370 member companies across 40 U.S. states and Canada. MTI adopted an online community in 2009. This is their digital transformation story.

Wondering how your association can stay relevant, effectively connect with younger members, save staff time, increase revenue, and boost retention? We’ll let MTI tell you. 

Before MTI adopted an online community, it was short on staff, didn’t have an AMS, and its revenue was decreasing. The trade association needed to update its value proposition dramatically to thrive again. That’s where the value of communities came in.

MTI chose community as a tool for digital transformation, and has achieved the following successes with less than 4 full-time staff members: 

  • 50% decrease in transactional requests due to community
  • 2600% revenue growth in 14 years
  • 97% member retention rate

How do they do it? We sat down with Tom Morrison, MTI CEO, and Kristen Speer, MTI Director of Member Experience, to hear their story and learn about how they’ve harnessed the power of online communities to tap into the future of their membership and provide maximum value. 

“We’ve used technology, including our online community, our learning management system, and our benchmarking database to empower our members, help them do more for themselves, connect with them, and expand services without expanding staff. We’ve turned MTI around.” -Tom Morrison, MTI CEO 

As you scroll on to soak up lessons from MTI’s strategy, be sure to watch the videos featured throughout to hear about MTI’s digital transformation directly from Tom and Kristen.

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Topics: Communications, Millennials, Associations, Member Retention, Customer Success, Online Community

7 Hard Questions to Evaluate Your Digital Customer Experience

Written by Elizabeth Bell on February 21, 2020 at 8:45 AM | 5 minute read

The hard truth: Your digital customer experience may be disjointed. Forrester Research writes, “Digital experience delivery is a business-critical obligation.” 

For many companies today, especially B2B or SaaS companies, the digital customer experience is the customer experience. Your customers likely interact with you almost entirely online (as they do things like submit support tickets, tag your business profiles on social media, or visit your website), making evaluating your customers’ digital experience a key step on the road to improving it.

You might think your digital customer experience is pretty good. But you won’t know until you take a closer look. Asking these seven questions will help you assess and improve the state of your digital customer experience.

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Topics: Communications, Engagement, Customer Communities, Member Communities, B2B Communities, Customer Engagement, Customer Experience, Customer Retention, Customer Support, Customer Success, Online Community, B2B

10 Association Communications Stats with Tips to Reach Younger Members More Effectively

Written by Gabrielle Wathen on February 4, 2020 at 6:45 AM | 9 minute read

Strong retention across a multigenerational membership base starts with an effective communications strategy. 

Here’s what we know: Recent data shows associations are increasingly struggling to engage young professionals, effectively utilize technology to cut through the clutter, and clearly communicate membership value.

Here’s what else we know: You can reach and retain younger members by exceeding their expectations with a customized member experience that meets them where they are in their careers, and positions you to grow together. 

Let’s explore 10 of the newest industry statistics revealing various association communication challenges, and thus, opportunities for strategic improvement.

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Topics: Communications, Millennials, Associations, Member Retention, Member Engagement, Email Marketing, Marketing Automation, Online Community

Onboarding for Retention: How to Engage New Members for the Long Term

Written by Elizabeth Bell on May 23, 2019 at 2:55 PM | 6 minute read

Onboarding new members is a critical step for associations, and often one that is missed or under-emphasized. That first year of membership has a big influence on whether that member will renew with you.

If you’re onboarding with the goal of retention (and you should be), it’s all about connecting your members and continuing to engage them at strategic touchpoints. Engagement during their first year of membership, and every year after, is how you keep members around.

When evaluating how your onboarding program is doing, ask yourselves if these three things are true about your program:

  1. Are members quickly introduced your association’s benefits, like your member network and key resources?
  2. Are members drawn in so much that they want to remain and participate?
  3. Are staff able to introduce members to these benefits on a large scale and in a personalized way?

If the answer to any of these was no, don’t worry. We’ve got the resources you need to get your onboarding program where you want it to be.

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Topics: Communications, Engagement, Member Communities, Associations, Member Retention, Member Engagement, Marketing Automation, Online Community

The Member Journey Has Changed: Are You Changing With It?

Written by Tom Lehman on May 16, 2019 at 9:08 AM | 4 minute read

“Digital transformation” is leaving no stone unturned. Its effects aren’t limited just to big consumer brands like Amazon, Netflix Uber. Technology has changed how people travel down the path toward membership at your association, and how they engage with your association if or when they join.

A member’s experience with your association or nonprofit used to look different. They might hear about you through a direct mail flyer, send in a check to join, and attend a conference once a year. That was association membership. Their journey to joining your association was linear and sequential.

Now, they come to your association at various stages of the funnel, or the member/buyer’s journey. And along the way, they expect a different experience from what was the norm 20 years ago.

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Topics: Communications, Engagement, Member Communities, Associations, Member Experience, Nonprofits and Charities, Member Engagement, Marketing Automation, Online Community, Integration

8 Tips to Write Emails Your Association Members Will Open

Written by Gabrielle Wathen on May 8, 2019 at 12:51 PM | 8 minute read

Let me guess – your inbox is overflowing with so much content that you don’t know which way is up, much less which emails are worth your time. What to open? What to ignore? It’s a relatable circumstance for anyone with an email address (and fun fact: active email accounts are expected to hit 5.6 billion by 2019). Keep this in mind when trying to reach your busy members.

A “good” email open rate among members depends on your industry and the end goal of your email.

Recent data shows that:

  • The average email open rate (across all industries) is 16.19%
  • The average email open rate for the Civic/Social Membership industry (e.g., associations, chambers, clubs) is 23.09%

If your target audience has opted into your communications, the open rate should be on the higher end. How do your association’s metrics stack up? Regardless of how great your content is, if your members aren’t opening your emails, your message isn't getting out there.

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Topics: Communications, Engagement, Associations, Member Engagement, Email Marketing

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